It’s easy to see how, for lifelong residents of New Orleans, the varied traumas of the past ten days are genuinely compounded by finding themselves refugees living in strange new places.

Nevertheless, it’s still a bit jarring to read the reaction of one crying refugee upon reaching shelter near Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, where up to 20,000 survivors from New Orleans are being sent:

“All these trees … It seems like hell.”

This is a woman who, with her family, has endured a night on a bridge in New Orleans and, worse, three nights in the infamous New Orleans convention center. And yet she broke down in tears upon seeing a safe, well-equipped, and well-staffed refugee camp in the woods in Arkansas.

I’m not sure whether this says more about how much these survivors have gone through, that they are emotionally unprepared to handle any more surprises at all, or about the high degree of isolation of urban dwellers in contemporary society.

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